Museum of Science, Boston
Boston , Massachusetts
Tel: 617 723 2500
Concierge.com's insider take:
At the mouth of the Charles River, with views of the Boston skyline, the Museum of Science is crowded with hands-on exhibits that demonstrate everything from biology to computers to physics. Kids can determine how much sugar is in a bottle of Coca-Cola, measure the volume of their lungs, and investigate the mysteries of lightning with the world's largest Van de Graaff generator. (That one's a blast for adults, too.) There's also an adorable troupe of live cotton-top tamarin monkeys who live here to help the museum staff study evolution, a planetarium that was renovated and reopened in 2011, and an Omnimax theater that shows science- and technology-oriented films, such as Galápagos. Volunteers roam the building on Segways to dole out information. The Butterfly Garden, a humid greenhouse opened in 2005, flutters with about 100 butterflies (monarchs, owl butterflies, and bamboo pages) and features exotic plants, like the Stachytarpheta (or Blue Rat's Tail). In a city as high-tech as this one, the museum falls surprisingly short of being cutting edge, and some of the exhibits are worn. Nonetheless, it's generally mobbed by school groups on weekdays and herds of suburban families on weekends (a huge parking deck sits next to the building to accommodate them). Visit on a Friday evening after 5 pm to avoid the crowds.—updated by Jon Marcus
Open daily 9 am to 5 pm (until 9 pm on Fridays). Summer hours, between July 5 and Labor Day, 9 am to 7 pm (until 9 pm on Fridays).